Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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Labour will make housing a priority for the next Government

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Plymouth has a housing crisis. There aren't enough affordable homes for local people and we aren't building enough homes. We need a better deal for people on housing: more affordable and predictable rents, more affordable homes to buy and to let and better quality housing for all.

There is a real housing crisis in Plymouth. We need more homes that are genuinely affordable, more protections and longer and more secure tenancies for renters and better quality housing for all. That's quite a challenge but it is one we cannot avoid - we need action on housing in Plymouth - Luke Pollard

Putting first-time buyers first

Ed Miliband is today unveiling Labour’s plan to put first time buyers first by reducing stamp duty to zero and giving them priority access on new homes built.  

This is the next stage in Labour’s comprehensive programme to tackle our country’s housing crisis by building the homes local people need and taking action on rents. This is especially important in Plymouth where rents are going up as housing supply is limited. 

The measures announced today will help first time buyers as the next Labour government embarks on the biggest house-building programme for a generation, increases the number of affordable homes, and introduces secure three-year tenancies with rents capped.  

Labour’s better plan is needed to tackle a modern housing crisis in which a severe shortage of new homes being built has priced millions of people out of the property market and left many who want to buy living in private rented accommodation. 

The Tories have overseen the lowest peacetime level of housebuilding since the 1920s, the lowest rate of home ownership for 30 years and a market where buy-to-let landlords and foreign investors are snapping up properties before local people get a chance. 

The key elements of Labour’s comprehensive plan to help working families get the decent homes they deserve: 

Labour will put first time buyers first:

  • Help with your first home: Labour will reduce stamp duty to zero for first time buyers of homes worth up to £300,000 – a saving of as much as £5,000 for people seeking to get on the property ladder. 

  • First Call: Labour will give first time buyers that have lived in an area for more than three years “first call” on up to half of homes built in their area. 

  • Local First: Labour will stop foreign buyers buying up properties before local buyers get a look in by ensuring they are advertised in local areas, increasing taxes paid by foreign buyers and council tax for empty homes. 

The biggest house building programme in a generation:

  • Labour’s plan will start construction on 1 million new homes by 2020 to deliver our promise of getting 200,000 homes built a year, with “use or lose it” powers ensuring developers build on land rather than hoarding it via the right to levy council tax on sites which remains undeveloped, as well as plans for a series of new garden cities and wider reform of the housing market.

More affordable and social housing: 

  • Labour’s plan will build more affordable homes year-on-year by strengthening affordable housing obligations on developers which have been watered down by the Tories, prioritising capital investment and allowing Labour’s £5 billion Future Homes Fund to invest in housing associations developing affordable homes.

Action on rent:

  • Labour will bring in secure three-year tenancies for those who want them and cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation during this period.

  • We will also ban letting agent fees - saving the average household £625 over the next parliament – and introduce a national register of landlords so that a minority of rogue owners can be identified, with tax relief restricted for those who do not meet basic standards.

Help for people in the private rental sector

40% of people who live in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport rent their home from a private landlord. This is predicted to rise to 1 in 2 people by 2020. People in private rented housing need a better deal and that is what Labour is offering - Luke Pollard

Generation Rent are the young, families with children and middle income earners who being are priced out of the housing market. Labour will build the homes which local people want to buy. But we will never turn our backs on Generation Rent. And we want to encourage all those responsible landlords who provide decent homes for people and stable income for themselves. 

Too many people are struggling to meet the costs of putting a roof over their head. Some are saving for a deposit year after year, decade after decade, while the dream of owning their own home seems further and further away. Others are having to move all the time, ripping up the roots they have laid down at work or with friends, even having to change their kids’ schools.

Labour has a better plan. The security of three year tenancies for all who want them with rents capped, so they can fall but not rise by more than inflation. The rights they need to negotiate a decent deal with landlords and stop rip-off letting fees. And the protection for taxpayers and tenants against bad landlords who are being subsidised for providing accommodation that fails to meet basic standards.

This is a plan for a stable, decent, prosperous private rental market where landlords and tenants can succeed together. 

The next Labour government will introduce legislation in its first Queen’s speech to:

  • Cap rents so they cannot rise by more than the rate of inflation (CPI) during secure three-year tenancies.

  • Require landlords and letting agents to disclose the rent levels charged to previous tenants so that householders can negotiate the best possible deal at the start of their contract.

  • Penalise rogue landlords by reducing buy-to-let tax relief for those who own hundreds of thousands of properties which do not meet basic standards. 

These new announcements follow previous measures which Labour has already set out to help people who rent including a plan for:

  • Secure three-year tenancies for all people who want them so landlords will no longer be able to terminate rental agreements simply to put rents up.

  • A ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants, saving the average household £625 over the next parliament.

  • A national register of landlords which will enable rogue landlords to be identified and judge whether their proper meet basic standards. 

What do you think?

Housing is such a key issue for many people in Plymouth. I want to hear your views about Labour's housing policies. Get in touch with me or leave a comment below. Thanks.

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